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Embracing change: The largest city in Clayton County

By Wendy Haynes-Reynold


Mayor Angelyne Butler
City of Forest Park

As far back as she can remember, Angelyne Butler knew that not only did she have the ability to lead and serve, but also the desire. On many occasions she has stated that helping others gives her more satisfaction than words can convey, and as such, despite life’s ups and downs, the Forest Park mayor has always functioned in her faith.

Her efforts and dedication have not gone unnoticed and are exactly what has led her to become the first person of color to hold the seat. Needless to say, she’s encountered challenges, the first being the immense pressure of simply being— the first. As expressed by Mayor Butler,

“I realize that I am not at liberty to make some of the same missteps as my predecessors; or any missteps, for that matter. It makes me keenly aware that there are those who would seek to use my race against me. Conversely, being situated in this unique position has allowed me to dispel some of the negative stereotypes of black women in leadership and this challenge is one that I particularly welcome, embracing the role of change agent for myself, my daughter and every young black girl who aspires to greatness. I count it as an honor to pave the way for those strong black women who will come after me.”

With this kind of progressive thinking and determination, Angelyne Butler is honored to have been nominated “Mayor of the Year 2020”. When asked what impact this designation would have on her, she responded, “It would mean the world to me, as it would be one of the most humbling accolades I could personally receive. It would undoubtedly be one of, if not the greatest, tribute of my life. This award, more than any one accomplishment, points more so towards the citizens and residents of this great city; those who thought enough of me to elect me as Mayor. It speaks to the teamwork of The Development Authority, The Urban Redevelopment Agency and the City Council, all of which makes this honor a reality. Therefore, while my name may be on the award, it should also bear the name of each and every resident of Forest Park because it speaks to the respect that the city so deserves.”

Millennials comprise roughly a quarter of the U.S. population and as a member of this generation, one area of Mayor Butler’s focus is on issues pertaining to Millennial concerns. This group of Americans grew up and began their careers in a time when, amongst other things, 1) almost every home (except for third-world countries) had an internet connection and a computer, 2) global warming became obvious with unusually severe storms, hotter weather, colder weather, more droughts, etc., 3) there was explosive growth in online companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, eBay, and PayPal, 4) a

revolution in the way we work occurred, including widespread acceptance of flex-time, work from home, and freelancing, and 5) housing prices grew beyond most young people’s reach.

To that end, it is Mayor Butler’s desire to address some, if not all of these issues. She envisions the facilitation of live/work/play communities in Forest Park, as the research suggests that Millennials enjoy and want this, as well as the creation of green spaces for dog parks. Mayor Butler is looking towards attracting and establishing a wi-fi café where Millennials can gather and not only interact with their peers, but also with other generational groups— a kind of holistic, communal approach. As she has stated, “We must also build Millennial-ready housing, which means housing that is technology-ready, simple yet usable, and easily accessible to those other prementioned resources.”

In conclusion, Mayor Angelyne Butler is a force to be reckoned with, knowing that as phenomenal an accomplishment of being the first is, being significant and having a noteworthy impact on those in which she has been elected to serve is her main focus. Representing the city and residents of Forest Park, Ga with dignity and respect is indeed her utmost priority. To top it off, she continues to make her family proud. All in all, a shining example of “Mayor of the Year”

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